HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Armen Gilliam, the No. 2 pick of the Phoenix Suns in the 1987 NBA Draft, died Tuesday night after collapsing during a pickup game at a Pittsburgh-area health club, a story first reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Gilliam was 47.
After starring at UNLV, where his No. 35 jersey was retired in 2007, Gilliam played 13 NBA seasons with six different teams. The 6-foot-9 power forward, nicknamed the “Hammer,” played for the Suns, Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz.
Gilliam averaged 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds during his NBA career, when he changed the spelling of his first name from Armon to Armen.
It was during an All-American career with the Runnin’ Rebels, though, that Gilliam made his most indelible mark on the game.
Gilliam is seventh on the all-time UNLV career list in scoring with 1,855 points. He earned Big West Conference Player of the Year honors in 1987. He holds the UNLV record for most points in a season with 903 in 1986-87 and most field goals made in a season with 359 that same year. He was inducted into the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.
“”He was one of the greatest Rebels ever and one of the best players we have ever had,” Former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian said in a statement released by the school. “In my ratings, I had Larry Johnson No. 1 and Armon No. 2. He was such a great person. Everybody loved him and he loved everybody. He was such a gentle person and such a caring guy. I am all shook up over it. I think the world of him and am just really shocked.”